Does Your Office Intuitively Light Itself?

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Your work environment plays a huge role in increasing or decreasing your productivity. The ambience, the texture, the noise and colours—everything around you influences your senses and sets your mood. Sometimes we notice the effect, mostly we don’t. Various researches around the world have time and again proved that everything in our working space impacts our focus and output. Among those factors, light and warmth play a key role.

Latest smart and connected lighting solutions go a step further to make offices smart. Sumit Joshi, vice president and managing director, Philips Lighting India, shares, “Technology has become increasingly people-centric and supported by powerful connectivity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving new ways to collaborate, innovate and socialise. The same is now true in a smart building environment, where lighting is going beyond just illumination and aesthetics to help create smarter and more intelligent workspaces that offer higher occupant comfort, flexibility and profitability.”

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Making your office smart
Smart lighting for office spaces provides more than just cost and energy saving benefits. Anuj Dhir, vice president and business head, Wipro Commercial Lighting, explains, “In modern workspaces, new technology features enable performance tracking with real-time updates on lighting system status. These also provide real-time updates as well as historical data and analysis of occupancy in workspaces to continually improve operations and experiences, thus helping facility managers to gain insights and, in turn, manage spaces effectively.”

Specifically, centralised monitoring and control, easy and quicker maintenance, power savings, higher reliability and greater system efficiency are the benefits of technology-based lighting solutions for smart cities. Remote-controlled operation facilitates ease of maintenance for city administrators, while real-time energy metering and report generation help to analyse and decide optimal electricity usage.

Explaining the technology, Ripu Daman Sharma, country sales manager, Lutron Electronics, says, “Wireless lighting utilises the intelligence of software technology and sensors to make people’s lives simpler and convenient. It is designed for energy efficiency. The technology allows LEDs to sense where the light is needed and accordingly set different colours and intensity of light. Simply put, smart or wireless lighting is associated with a system that provides centralised lighting control.”

“Connected lighting can also offer various insights about a building by integrating seamlessly with IT systems in the building, demonstrating how dynamic buildings can become smarter and more efficient than ever before. Connected luminaires can be fitted with sensors that can enable managers to track occupancy patterns, changes in temperature, light levels, and much more while employees can personalise the lighting around their desks. The system provides maximum visibility and better control, and allows offices to reduce energy consumption based on building usage and occupancy. Because fixtures receive both data and power over a single Ethernet connection, this also eliminates the need for costly electrical wiring during construction or renovation,” Joshi adds.

As connected LED lighting allows building managers to monitor and analyse building usage data in real time, they can identify efficiencies and control other facilities such as air-conditioning, heating and meeting room availability. “This can drive down energy consumption by up to 80 per cent compared to conventional lighting, allowing businesses to slash their carbon footprint and drastically reduce their running costs,” informs Sumit.

As per a recent market report, almost 87 per cent of an average office worker’s time is spent indoors. As people now spend less time outdoors, they consequently have less exposure to the natural rhythms of daylight. Connected lighting can enable offices to design indoor lighting to mimic the effects of natural daylight in an office, helping to optimise people’s circadian rhythms, which can thereby improve their overall mood and productivity. If we consider the case of an R&D or a technology organisation in India, even a two per cent improvement in productivity can lead to an incremental increase of 50,000 rupees in revenue per employee every year, while reduced absenteeism and added health benefits can save around 15,000 rupees per employee every year.

Talking about the challenges, Anuj says, “It takes time for any new technology to penetrate the market. Customers should focus on the total cost of ownership. It should be noted that the new features go a long way in optimising energy usage and bring down the operating costs.”

Case Study: Smart lighting benefits for Edge Building in Amsterdam
A good example of innovative smart LED lighting is the Edge Building in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which is an innovative, multi-tenant office building. The architect’s goal was to create an intuitive, comfortable and productive environment for employees that would inspire sustainable building designs around the world. Opened in 2015, it received an outstanding score of 98.36 per cent—the highest ever—from BREEAM, the world’s leading design and assessment method for sustainable buildings.

A key aspect of the building’s sustainable design is a connected lighting system from Philips that enables employees to personalise the lighting and temperature at their workspaces via a smartphone app. The system also provides data on activities in the workspace, which further helps to reduce the CO2 footprint.

The system uses nearly 6500 connected LED luminaires to create a ‘digital ceiling’ in the building’s 15 storeys. With integrated sensors in 3000 of these luminaires that work with Philips Envision lighting management software, the system captures, stores, shares and distributes information throughout the illuminated space. Facility managers use the software to visualise and analyse this data, track energy consumption and streamline maintenance operations. The system uses 750 Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches to connect lighting fixtures to the building’s IT network. With PoE, Ethernet cables send both power and data to the luminaires, eliminating the need for separate power cabling.

Towards a smart and connected office
Organisations exploring connected lighting systems must first decide the desired functionalities like scheduling, zoning, dimming and app-based control. The availability of wireless connected systems allows these benefits to be accessed for the LED retrofit market (conventional-to-LED upgrade, which is 83 per cent of the lighting market).

It is very difficult to put a specific number in terms of investment requirement. Typically, for MSMEs, there is 30-40 per cent incremental investment for a basic connected system from the basic LEDfication. The ROI too depends upon the existing conventional system, utility charges and other factors. Typically, ROI takes around 2.5 to 3 years in the case of a basic connected system for MSMEs.

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